Zenitsu sucks in a breath, a deep crimson flushes his face as he squeezes his eyes shut to avoid contact with Tanjirou.
Tanjirou, whose sister Zenitsu was sure he’d fallen for. Tanjirou, who’s swordsmanship stunned Zenitsu every time he saw it. Tanjirou, who would protect Zenitsu and assure him everything would be fine. Tanjirou, whose broad shoulders would shield Zenitsu from any danger around him. Tanjiro, whose smile makes Zenitsu’s heart pound in his chest harder than any girl’s has. Tanjirou, Tanjirou, Tanjirou, Tanjirou, Tanjirou.
His heart flutters and his eyes shoot open. They lock with Tanjirou’s. Warm, crimson, flames, gorgeous, kind.
He opens his mouth to respond, but no sound escapes. It just gaps and trembles in the slightest. His hands feel sweaty, but Tanjirou doesn’t seem to mind, he continues to hold them tenderly in his own.
Tears well in his eyes, but he can’t figure out why. He’s not sad or anything like that. Maybe his heart is just about to burst and this is a beforehand side effect. Maybe he’ll die in just a few moments, hands being held by Tanjirou’s as he’s staring into his eyes. That wouldn’t be the worst way to go out.
One of Tanjirou’s hands leaves Zenitsu’s. Only for just a moment long enough to wipe Zenitsu’s tears away. He still has such a kind smile on his face as he does it.
Wait- when did they fall?
Tanjirou’s hand returns, but this time using it to lift Zenitsu’s own to his lips, and presses a light, gentle kiss to his knuckles. Zenitsu’s face burns, yet he can’t seem to find a reason to care.
“I never knew it could be this way.” Tanjirou says and it’s soft and sweet and music to Zenitsu’s ears. It’s the nicest sound he’s ever heard, he would listen to it for hours on end if he could. “Nezuko’s always been the one with admirers and I never had time to be able to think about love like this.”
Love. Just hearing the word come out of Tanjirou’s mouth is enough to convince Zenitsu angels exist.
“I never knew I’d be able to hold a boy’s hand. I’ve always put my family first, so the thought never came to me, but…” Tanjirou presses another kiss to Zenitsu’s other hand. Zenitsu hears his heart in his ears. “I never knew it would be so nice.”
Tanjirou’s eyes meet his and they shine with nothing but care and thoughtfulness. His hands release Zenitsu’s and instead they cup his face. He’s sure Tanjirou’s can feel how warm his cheeks are, but he doesn’t seem to mind. His smile widens slightly and the look in his eyes only grows.
He’s beautiful. It’s something Zenitsu wants to voice, but can’t. He couldn’t possibly find the words to describe the way Tanjirou looks. The way his hair sits pushed back. How his eyes shine so pretty. How the smile on is lips tugs Zenitsu’s heart strings whenever he sees it. There are no possible words.
Tanjiro leans in, shifts his hand, and kisses one of Zenitsu’s cheeks. The action causes the blond’s heart to jump.
“I never knew I’d be able to kiss a boy. That was something I spared time to think about, but I doubted I’d ever be able to do it. It’s so much better than I ever could’ve imagined.” Pure joy coats Tanjirou’s voice as he says it. “It’s so nice.” It seems he wants to prove his point, because Tanjirou leans in again and kisses Zenitsu’s other cheek.
“Never once did I know I’d be able to hold a boy’s face in my hands and kiss him. Especially not with the knowledge that he’d kiss me back.”
And Tanjirou leans in so close his lips brush against Zenitsu’s.
“I never knew it could be this way.”
Tanjirou’s eyes widen slightly at Zenitsu’s words. He leans back, silently encouraging him to continue. He swallows the knot in his throat and all the nerves that’s been stopping his speech.
“I never knew I would find someone so kind, not just to me, but to the entire world around them.” Zenitsu takes a breath and shakily takes Tanjirou’s hands in his own, mimicking the other’s actions from moments before. He lifts one of his hands to his mouth and presses a soft kiss to the knuckles. Tanjirou’s smile is wholesome.
“I never knew I’d find someone with a sound so sweet that it would bring tears to my eyes.” Zenitsu repeats the action with Tanjirou’s other hand. “A sound I would give anything to listen to.”
His eyes lift up to meet Tanjirou’s again. His face is flushed a beautiful red, red enough to rival his fiery hair. And his eyes... they’re filled with love.
“I never knew I’d meet someone so strong and brave. Someone willing to protect me, but would encourage me to protect myself as well.” He hesitantly cups Tanjirou’s face, now completely unable to look away from him. He doesn’t mind. He’d never mind.
“I never knew I’d see someone fight demon after demon without even the thought of praise. Without the guarantee of making it out alive.” He shifts one hand and kisses one of Tanjirou’s cheeks.
“Or someone who’d train day and night to become stronger just to change their sister back to a human.” He repeats the action with Tanjirou’s other cheek.
He looks into Tanjirou’s eyes and Tanjirou looks into his.
“I never thought I’d meet someone who’d refuse to give up on me. Someone who’d stick with me, someone who’d say they love me and mean it.”
He ignores his nerves, even if for just a moment, and leans in and presses a kiss to Tanjirou’s lips. A kiss that Tanjirou quickly and happily returns. A kiss they don’t break until all their breath is gone because they can’t think about being apart.
Tanjirou looks at him. Love, pure love, rests in his eyes. Zenitsu’s sure it rests in his own as well.
“I never knew it could be this way…” Tanjirou kisses one of Zenitsu’s hands. “But I’m so glad it is.”